The outdoor heritage community comprised of gun owners and hunters has been the leading advocate for science based professional wildlife and habitat management for generations. Our outdoor traditions have always included steadfast support of apolitical management of our natural resources. We do this through a unique set of funding sources that we have placed upon ourselves through self-imposed licenses, stamps, fees, and excise taxes.
These sources collectively account for the vast majority of the funding utilized by our state fish and wildlife agency. This ensures separation from the political ties that normally come with general public revenue appropriation.
While we support all of this, we must also be constantly vigilant that any government agency can only work within their authority. The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife has great latitude to “manage” wildlife species and their habitat. The outdoor heritage community has always supported that authority and fought to protect it. We have granted the agency to regulate how, when, where, and how many game and fur bearing animals we can take, but that is where the authority stops.
What we are witnessing with these new regulations on wildlife contests is a step far outside the agency’s authority. In fact, what the agency has done is take a giant step into “post management”. Under political pressure the agency has stepped into dangerous legal and political waters and may have actually seeded the future for the relinquishment for the end of the North American model of professional wildlife management.